Do you cook at home? Do you look forward to the time you spend in the kitchen, whipping up your newest concoction? Whether you’re a veteran or a novice, whether you’re the next at-home Rachel Ray or you can’t tell a teaspoon from a tablespoon, everyone can use some handy tricks to make cooking easier.
1. Pancake patterning trick.
Drizzling pancake batter into whimsical patterns using an icing dispenser isn’t the only pancake hack in our kitchen cabinet. Another easy one is cookie cutters, the same ones you use to make sugar cookies over the holidays. Simply place them on your frying pan, pour the batter inside the outlines, and watch as your pancakes rise in amazing shapes. Of course, they will largely be shaped like Christmas trees, snowmen, and gingerbread men, but this makes them the perfect holiday breakfast treat!
Oh yeah, and before we forget, you can totally do this with eggs too when you’re cooking sunny-side up. Just pour them into the cookie cutters and watch as they shape perfectly (and what’s arguably even better, cook evenly).
2. Soften butter in minutes.
You’re getting ready for a dinner party, and you’re finally getting everything out on the table. You realize then you forgot to pull the butter out of the fridge. You take it out, and of course it’s hard as a rock. But dinner is in two minutes! What do you do? Nobody likes cold butter that is impossible to cut. It turns out there is a perfect solution which allows you to soften your butter without melting it, and it only takes a couple of minutes. This is an easy way to make your dinner guests happy.
Just get a small glass and warm it up, then put it over top of the butter. You can heat up the glass by running warm water over it or by putting it in the microwave for a few seconds. The butter under the glass will quickly soften and will be just the right consistency to easily cut and spread. Voila!
3. Peel an orange with ease.
Laziness is no longer an excuse for not eating your fruit! Oranges are delicious, but let’s face it, peeling them is a pain. But does it have to be? Not if you use this orange-peeling hack from Jewelpie.com. Put your orange down on a cutting board. Use a knife to slice off a thin bit from the end, and then do the same thing with the end opposite. Next, cut a perpendicular line. You want to go almost clean through the orange, but not all the way. Then you can pull both ends away from each other and stretch out the orange in a long strip. Then you can just grab each slice off the strip and enjoy!
4. Get those pesky eggshells out of your bowl.
This is practically a daily experience for anyone who does a look of cooking, especially baking. You crack your eggs into the bowl, cringing the whole time, because you just know they aren’t going to break evenly. Sure enough, a little piece of egg shell falls into the bowl and gets stuck in the egg white. You poke around for a full minute trying to get the pesky thing out of there.
There is an easier way! And it is incredibly simple. All you have to do is make your fingers wet, and try again. You will be amazed how well this works. The little egg shell bit should adhere right to your fingers and come out. While we’re at it, do you hate when bits of egg white run down the side of your bowl and drip all over the counter? Try putting the bowl at the edge of the counter and a trash can under it. Any whites that drip down will go into the trash bin and you will not have to clean it up.
5. Get corn off the cob easily and neatly.
Corn on the cob is delicious, but it’s not fun for everybody to eat. If you have braces, jaw issues, or you just don’t enjoy getting all those corn-bits between your teeth, you might prefer to cut your corn off the cob. Of course, this is royal pain. In fact, odds are at some point in your life, you have avoided corn on the cob because you can’t be bothered to cut it off, scrape it off your cutting board and into your bowl, and then pick up all the corn you missed that fell onto the counter, the sink or the floor.
Enter the Bundt cake pan! This is an easy way to catch all the corn you are cutting off the cob. Just put the cob in the center, standing it up on the protrusion, and cut downwards. The corn will all fall down into the pan. No corn on the counter, sink or floor. And you can just spoon it right out of the cake pan and into your bowl.
6. Peel a head of garlic in seconds.
It turns out there is a hack for peeling garlic that is every bit as simple as the hack for shucking corn. All you need is two bowls that are the same size. Put your head of garlic in one of the bowls, and then put the other bowl on top of it to create a closed container. Then simply shake the bowls really hard. In a minute or less, you can open the container back up and look inside. Assuming you shook it hard enough and long enough, you should see all the skins separated from the garlic cloves. Awesome!
7. Replace ice cubes with frozen fruit in drinks.
Serving up some drinks with your meal? Instead of adding ice, think about adding frozen strawberries or grapes or other fruit pieces. They will subtly change the flavor of the drink, so it may take some experimenting to figure out what you like. A lot of people enjoy frozen grapes in white wine for example. Why is this an awesome idea? Frozen fruit cools down your drink without watering it down, and at the end, you can eat the fruit.
8. Replace vegetable oil with butter to make your recipes richer.
This is a suggestion for improving cake, but you can actually improve a number of foods this way. It works great for brownies as well if you want a richer flavor and consistency. You can also replace water in these recipes with milk. Depending on the recipe and your taste, you might also prefer something like coconut, buttermilk, or even juice. Just about any recipe will automatically taste more decadent when you cook this way. This applies to savory foods like eggs as well.